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Besson's 1969 Ford Bronco

Posted in Features on January 19, 2016
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“I’ve never in my life owned a vehicle that gets as much attention from such a diverse fan base.” –Tony Besson

One day, California resident Tony Besson made the decision to buy a classic Bronco. Within a week, he had just what he wanted. “I lucked out on finding a rust-free rig within the state at a decent price,” he recalls. His newfound rig looked nothing like the finished rig you see here, and the buildup of the machine wasn’t without some drama along the way. “The ‘awesome’ factor of owning a classic Bronco was short lived for me. I blew the motor two weeks after purchasing my rig,” Tony says. The engine was rebuilt but soon swapped for a fuel-injected 351ci V-8 ’plant. That engine blew up as well (“Don’t ask,” he says). This led to the current engine, also a 351ci V-8, which Tony says is a “monster.”

Tony, an actor by profession, worked with the folks at ASC Bronco in Venice, California, to build the rig, and as you can see, it turned out very well. He says, “I’m proud of our build. I think we did a good job of adding some modern conveniences to such a historically adored vehicle. I’ve never in my life owned a vehicle that gets as much attention from such a diverse fan base.” It’s a sharp, vintage Bronco that’s comfortable and capable on the street and in the dirt.

The exterior of the Bronco has an all-business demeanor thank to the absence of chrome and a multitude of mods including a Sundial-powdercoated Proto Fab front bumper, Mile Marker SEC9.5 (ES) winch, J.W. Speaker model 8700 LED headlights, J.W. Speaker TS3001R LED auxiliary lights, Sundial-powdercoated James Duff receiver hitch rear bumper with Modular Tire and Gas Tank Rack, functional hood scoop, and rocker protection. A set of 33x10.5R15LT Toyo Open Country M/T tires are mounted to American Eagle wheels that were converted to beadlocks by TrailReady.

Up front, a James Duff 3 1/2-inch-lift Monster long-travel suspension is sandwiched between the disc brake-equipped Dana 30 axle and the Bronco’s original frame. This suspension includes a pair of James Duff 70/30 Auto Adjust shocks at each wheel that are tuned for the coil-spring suspension and are valved with 70 percent rebound and 30 percent compression. A Hellwig sway bar helps decrease body roll. The old manual steering system has been ditched and replaced by a BC Broncos power steering kit that includes a 4x4 F-150-application steering box with 4x2 internals so it turns the correct way.

The Ford 9-inch rear axle is fitted with 3.50:1 cogs and a pair of disc brakes (the truck uses a Hydratech Hydroboost brake system). The simple rear suspension uses flexy James Duff leaf springs, a Hellwig sway bar, and a single 70/30 James Duff shock at each wheel. Also visible in this photo is the skidplate covering the 23-gallon BC Broncos fuel tank.

Tony says the fuel-injected 351ci V-8 was pirated from a ’96 Bronco. The engine has a Comp Cams camshaft, MSD ignition, Painless Performance Products wiring, and BC Broncos ceramic-coated shorty headers. The engine is said to generate 230 hp at 3,500 rpm and 350 lb-ft of torque at 2,200 rpm. A Griffin heavy-duty radiator with an engine-driven fan handles engine cooling. Serving the Bronco’s electrical needs are a Powermaster 200-amp alternator and an Optima YellowTop battery. A C4 automatic transmission routes power to the Dana 20 transfer case.

The interior of the Bronco has been modernized, but it still retains its classic style. There’s a Rhino Linings-coated tub, Procar Rally Lowback front seats, a Flaming River steering wheel and tilt steering column, Tuffy Security console, Dakota Digital VHX gauges, and custom eight-point rollcage among other things. In addition, the rig has been fit with the convenience of BC Broncos power windows and door locks as well as a Vintage Air SureFit A/C system.

At A Glance

Vehicle: ’69 Ford Bronco
Owner: Tony Besson
Stomping grounds: Studio City, California
Build time: Two years

Engine: Ford 351ci V-8
Transmission: C4
Transfer case(s): Dana 20
Low range ratio(s): 2.46:1
Crawl ratio(s): 21.2:1
Front axle/differential: Dana 30, disc brakes, power steering, 3.50:1 gears/open
Rear axle/differential: Ford 9-in, disc brakes, 3.50:1 gears/open

Front: James Duff 3.5-in Monster long-arm, James Duff 70/30 Auto Adjust shocks, Hellwig sway bar
Rear: James Duff Monster, James Duff 70/30 Auto Adjust shocks, Hellwig sway bar
Steering: Power, using BC Broncos-sourced F-150 box

Tires: 33x10.5R15LT Toyo Open Country M/T
Wheels: 15x8 American Eagle w/TrailReady beadlock conversion

Lighting: JW Speaker 8700 HB LED and TS 3000R
Armor: Protofab front bumper, James Duff rear bumper, rocker protection
Cool stuff: Soft top, Vintage Air SureFit A/C, BC Broncos power windows and door locks

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